Incumbent Michael "Mickey" P. Kearns claimed victory over endorsed Democrat Angela Marinucci in the race for Erie County Clerk, but county Democrats have not conceded the race.
Kearns was ahead by several thousand votes, according to unofficial results from the Erie County Board of Elections. With 98 percent of districts reporting, Kearns had 158,801 votes, or 51 percent of the vote, and Marinucci had 153,224, or 29 percent.
"We're not conceding this race. It's too close," Erie County Democratic Chairman Jeremy Zellner said. "There's 20,000 absentees out there."
Kearns, a Republican-endorsed Democrat, campaigned on improvements he said he made to the office during his year on the job. It was his first re-election bid to remain Erie County clerk.
Marinucci, a Grand Island resident and corporate immigration lawyer on leave from her law firm, was making her first run for elective office.
Angela Marinucci gets loudest ovation of night in Dem HQ. She says, "It wasn't just me. It was all four corners of this amazing county. ... I'm excited to be your next county clerk. Every vote does count." Won't concede. Crowd chants "Angela, Angela."
— Thomas Prohaska (@ThomasProhaska) November 7, 2018
The county clerk oversees one of the county's few revenue-generating departments. The office processes driver's licenses and motor vehicle and real estate transactions.
Kearns, a former state assemblyman, said the department's revenue has increased since he's been on the job. He said that showed he can put his experience to work and make more improvements. That experience set him apart from Marinucci, he said.
Kearns expanded Saturday hours at an Auto Bureau location. He also created an online appointment system to avoid lines, both at the Auto Bureau and Pistol Permit Office.
Marinucci said she would do more to improve technology and efficiency, such as allowing legal and land records to be accessed online instead of in person. She also wants to work with law enforcement to speed up background check backlogs, enforce the SAFE Act and expand the Child ID program.
News staff reporter Thomas J. Prohaska contributed to this report.
Story topics: Election 2018